Automobile workshop from Berlin. Roche. Son of Helmut Kohl. 3M Germany GmbH. Tool shop in Hamburg. Rheinmetall. City Hall Pharmacy. Volkswagen AG. The list includes a mixed bag that was released against the Tagesspiegel.
Listed are global companies, but also individuals and, in some cases, apparently spontaneous companies that have concluded direct or indirect contracts with the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and fans. There are more than 200 companies on the list, many of them with remarks that signal that there is still something to do with contracts in legal contracts, which BMG has apparently entered too many.
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The problem has been known for a long time, so far it has focused on Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) as head of department. Research by Tagesspiegel Background now shows that Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) also played a role in acquiring masks for BMG in negotiating at least one contract. It was concluded with a party and furniture rental company near Munich, which in April received a framework contract for the supply of half a billion masks.
700 contracts worth 6.4 billion euros
BMG’s mask procurement, which began at the beginning of the corona crisis, consisted of several branches through which, according to the ministry, 1.1 billion masks have been purchased so far. Special attention was drawn to the so-called open door procedure, which attracted a number of contractual partners in early April and resulted in contracts that BMG had not been able to manage since.
Because with the construction of the open day, everyone who submitted a tender according to the tender received a contract. As BMG offered a lot of money for a protective mask in March, approximately 700 contracts were created with more than 300 dealers worth 6.4 billion euros.
Shortly after it became clear that the open door process could not be managed, Jens Spahn called on the management consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) without a tender, which has since been dealing with BMG’s openly public contract obligations – Erase domestic practices to reduce remaining amount. EY was not the only partner BMG hired in March through short official channels. This also included Fiege’s logistics service provider. The company is based in Münsterland, and therefore in the CDU district association, in which Jens Spahn sits on the board. According to BMG, Fiege’s order is a “three-million-dollar amount”.
Scheuer’s problems with EY
At the end of April, Andreas Scheuer and Jens Spahn were together in the Questions and Answers section of the Bundestag, where they had questions and answers about buying masks. At the time, both politicians gave the impression that they were looking for protective equipment and masks to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. During this time, a lot of Scheuer’s has happened, after all, he is still under considerable pressure in the toll affair – even this, even if only in a secondary respect, is about the EY contract.
He knows no guilt: Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. Photo: image images / Metow Popov
The fact that Scheuer and Spahn actually pulled all the stops to obtain protective equipment confirms the internal list from BMG: Unlike the hectic activation of all contacts, the range of contractors that can be seen there is difficult to explain.
Ongoing proceedings against BMG
For example, Kohl Consult AG, a consulting firm for the Chancellor’s son Walter Kohl. At Kohl’s request, he explains that he “does not want to comment on the ongoing process”. There is an asterisk behind Kohl Consulting in the list, the meaning is given at the end of the document: “Contracts already concluded, potential improvements in defective goods or interaction through legal advice”.
More than 120 companies are marked accordingly. Many of them are likely to be among the traders currently litigating BMG before the Bonn Regional Court, with more than 60 open cases pending. Last week, around a dozen participating lawyers met in a stately restaurant at the Brandenburg Gate to provide each other with information for optimal litigation against BMG.
Among global players and medium-sized companies
There are just over 20 companies on the list, which are marked not once, but with two stars. According to legend, these marks indicate “indirect contractual relationships through concluded framework agreements”, in which “potential contact in case of notification of defects” is recommended. If you are going through individual companies, there are several abnormalities.
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Most of the 24 “framework agreements” mentioned, about two thirds, were concluded with international, mostly Chinese companies: The aim here was to clearly obtain protective equipment on the ground for large players as soon as possible. But there are also a handful of German companies. But: They are not global players, but German medium-sized companies. Bavarian medium-sized enterprises in half of the cases.
Many connections in politics
There is, for example, a medical supply store from Raubling near Rosenheim. Decoration supplier from Aschaffenburg. GmbH from Munich, specializing in Chinese trade. One of the companies not based in Bavaria is Kloepfel Services GmbH, where the advisory board was chaired by the recently deceased former Federal Minister of Economy Wolfgang Clement (SPD), which also includes Austrian media manager Helmut Thoma.
Protective masks are now ubiquitous in Germany. Oliver Berg / DPA
The second, Issacana GmbH of Oelde, offered support to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in acquiring the masks in March – and passed CDU MP Daniel Hagemeier, who made contact with Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann, who was in close contact with Jens Spahn.
But what exactly is the framework agreement about? Tagesspiegel Background has a copy of the financial statement: It is signed by Fiege International Beteiligungs GmbH, a subsidiary of the logistics company authorized by BMG. The framework agreement has a large volume: 200 million FFP-2 masks and 300 million surgical masks are listed. Unit prices are blackened in the copy.
Some answers lead to abrasion
However, if the same prices were given here as in the open process, which began at the same time, the contract would have a volume in excess of one billion euros. If the 24 framework agreements listed on the BMG list were of a similar volume, many questions would arise – and some answers would lead to the Ministry of Transport, more precisely to Andreas Scheuer.
Because it obviously played a significant role in concluding the current framework agreement with Fiege. He arranged contact for a general contracting partner, furniture rental and party in Unterföhringen.
“Mr Rent Service GmbH” from the neighboring municipality of Munich is a medium-sized company which, according to the Commercial Register, specializes in the rental of equipment for events, the location of hotel rooms and the integration of foreign nurses. On April 22 this year, shortly after the signing of the framework agreement, the purpose of the company in the Commercial Register was changed. To this was added the “import, trade and distribution of personal and medical protective equipment”.
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Mr. Rent’s only CEO is Philipp Hoese, who also runs the agentour25 limousine. Both companies appear in the framework agreement as Fiege partners: Hoese for Agentour25 and the man with the email address mrrent.com are listed as contact persons. As with other small Bavarian companies, the question arises as to why all the people, along with a dozen international companies specializing in Chinese exports, have apparently come up with very comprehensive framework agreements.
“No attempt to influence decisions”
Upon request, a spokesman at Fiege will explain that a framework agreement has been concluded with Mr Rent on the basis of his experience. “The company has already been commissioned by the German armed forces to supply PPE.” Fiege received a corresponding confirmation letter from the Bundeswehr. ”
Spokeswoman Fiege points out that “during the peak pandemic, there were many active local, state and federal politicians (cross-faction) and former politicians” who wanted to use their network to help get the masks they needed at the time “. In Mr Rent’s case, the contact with the company was handed over by Minister Scheuer. ”
At the same time, however, we want to make it clear that “neither the politician nor the government has ever tried to influence the decisions and details of the treaty.” Like everyone else, the framework agreement with Mr Rent was “closely coordinated with BMG”.
In any case, Mr. Rent is not one of the masks suppliers to the federal government who are still waiting for their money. “As a responsible company, we have always ensured, through close coordination with BMG and appropriate design on the process side, that we can meet any payment obligations as agreed,” explains Fiege. All of Mr. Rent’s bills have been paid.
Answer “no” four times
He did not respond to the request as to whether and if so, what personal or professional relations he had with Andreas Scheuer, the head of Mr Rent Hoes. The Ministry of Transport requested an extension of the deadline and then answered four questions with four “no”.
Minister Scheuer did not recommend that Jens Spahn, Fiege or anyone else cooperate with Mr Rent, nor did he have any professional or private contacts with him, according to the minister. It was not possible to answer a question at BMG regarding the processes and role of the Minister of Transport.